Picture of The Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest Ticket Sales Hit 50,000 Mark

Ticket sales for this year’s Enchanted Forest have smashed through the 50,000 mark this week, making ‘Oir an Uisge’ the fastest selling show in the event’s 16-year history. Event organisers, The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, released a record 72,000 tickets and fully expect that, for the first year, the event will sell out completely before the opening night.

Ian Sim, chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, said:

“This year’s ‘Oir an Uisge’ show is set to be stunning and will show Faskally Wood and its loch in a whole new light, quite literally. We can’t emphasise strongly enough that people should buy tickets in advance to ensure they secure a chance to visit.”

This month has also seen the launch of the Voice of The Enchanted Forest competition, calling for children aged between 5 and 12 to record a script to be used during the month-long event at Pitlochry’s Faskally Wood this October.

Telephone auditions are currently open to find the winning Voice, which will appear in a recording to be played to tens of thousands of visitors as they travel by bus from Pitlochry to the forest for the event. The Voice will welcome visitors to the forest and remind them of some important health and safety messages.

The competition is being run in conjunction with Bauer Radio and its Radio Tay, Radio Forth and Radio Clyde stations. The winner will record a pre-written script at one of the three radio stations, get VIP access to the station, and be guest of honour at the show’s special preview night on 27th September.To enter the competition, call 01738 700140 and follow the audition instructions or go to www.tayfm.co.uk, www.forth1.com and www.clyde1.com. Details are also at www.enchantedforest.org.uk. The competition runs until midnight on September 12th.‘Oir an Uisge’ opens to the public on Thursday September 28th with proceeds from that night benefiting three charities: Tayside Mountain Rescue, Alzheimer Scotland and Giraffe.

Tickets and more information on The Enchanted Forest are available on www.enchantedforest.org.uk

Picture of team with Ernie Boath

Kirriemuir Thistle U19s kitted out in style thanks to Miller Hendry

Kirriemuir Thistle U19s kicked off the 2017/18 football season in style with some brand new kit supplied by Miller Hendry solicitors and estate agents.

Ernie Boath, Partner and Head of Private Client Department, presented the strips to the delighted squad at a recent training night in Martin Park.

Mr Boath, who has a strong personal connection with the squad, explained: “Miller Hendry sponsored the team some years ago when my older son Calum played in the U9s and now my younger son Duncan is playing in the U19s.

“Supporting and encouraging young people in the area is very important to us and we are delighted to be able to highlight the commitment and passion of the players and volunteers at Kirriemuir Thistle JFC by supplying the U19s with their new club strips. I hope the new kit will bring them luck in their fixtures throughout the year.”

As a business with offices and long-standing roots in the Angus, Tayside and Perthshire area, Miller Hendry is delighted to be able to support a local football team which is dependent on parents, members of the local community and all important sponsors to sustain and develop the team.

Scott Hodge, Manager of Kirriemuir JFC U19s, added: “As with any youth organisation and football club, we can only maintain and develop our club with the support of local businesses through sponsorship as well as receiving the continued support of volunteers such as parents and relatives. It is great to see so many local companies such as Miller Hendry offer their support this year.”

Miller Hendry sponsors Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce AGM

Leading Tayside legal and estate agency practice Miller Hendry is sponsoring Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce’s forthcoming AGM.

The high-profile business event takes place on Thursday, August 31 in the Invercarse Hotel from 4-8pm.

Chairman John Thom said: “Miller Hendry is delighted to be sponsoring this important annual event. Not only does the AGM give members the opportunity to discuss the future direction of the Chamber, but it’s an exciting showcase for Tayside’s vibrant business community with dozens of exhibitors taking part.”

Alison Henderson, CEO Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce, added: “We’re delighted to have Miller Hendry on board as our AGM sponsor. This is a key event in the business calendar, and having such a well-respected firm on board with us is a great asset. We’re looking forward to hearing more about their law and estate agency work across Dundee and Perthshire.”

Perthshire Businesswomen to visit Scotland’s coolest office and meet itison founder Oli Norman

A state-of-the-art workplace, fully stocked prosecco bar and beer fridge, duvet days, and a yoga space are just some of the staff perks which helped catapult itison into The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work For list earlier this year.

And founder Oli Norman will be sharing the secrets of his success at Perthshire Businesswomen’s Network’s latest ‘Striving For Excellence’ inspirational talks series in Glasgow this Thursday, August 31, from 6.30-9pm.

Jane Rennie, PBN Chairwoman said: “Ever wondered what it’s like to work in the coolest office ever? Want to know about the entrepreneur behind the business? Then hop on the Perthshire Businesswomen’s Network bus and come with us on a trip to Glasgow.

“Oli Norman, the founder of deals online site itison and DADA PR will welcome us to his not so humble abode and entertain us with his entrepreneurial journey which, by his own admission, includes breaking royal scandals in the world of journalism, cracking cases training as a lawyer, and writing TV shows (as well as appearing in a few).

“Oli embarked on his real passion at 24, growing businesses and creating a place where he wants to work. And, as proud owner of one of the coolest places to work in the UK, it’s a career move at which he has excelled.

“Oli’s first business, DADA, grew and achieved exciting results, and in 2008 Oli was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. In September 2010, Oli launched itison and the rest is history.

“At work, Oli is focussed on strategy and innovation, helping itison enjoy exciting growth. He also owns Sloans, Glasgow’s oldest bar and restaurant, Brel in the West End of Glasgow, Maggie May’s and the iconic Griffin bar opposite The King’s Theatre.”

The bus will leave from Broxden Park & Ride in Perth at 5pm on Thursday, August 31 (5.15pm departure) and then will return to Perth from Glasgow’s Merchant City at 9pm (arrival Perth estimated at 10.15pm). Coach transport is included in your ticket price for this event.

Tickets costing £22 (PBN members) and £31 for non-members are available on Eventbrite via the PBN website (www.perthshirebusinesswomen.co.uk). Ticket price includes travel to and from Glasgow.

For more information about Perthshire Businesswomen’s Network (PBN) contact Alison Lowson on 0758 409 3354 or by email a.lowson@volpa.co.uk

Are we Really Open for Business?

Here I am, blogging on holiday. I know I shouldn’t be but sometimes things just happen and you have to write about them.

Hot on the heels of VisitScotland announcing that tourism is worth £11bn to our economy and that 1 in 12 Scottish firms are active in the sector. You’d think that for such an important sector, creating 217,000 jobs, we’d be fully open for business and raring to go.

However two separate experiences at one establishment on this, so far, short vacation have highlighted how far we have yet to come.

The first, after travelling for about 2 hours by road to get to our destination, we pulled in part of the way there to a hotel restaurant to get lunch. Clearly signposted from the outside that they were serving food and, indeed, in the bar when we arrived dishes were still be served up with many tables still eating. It was 2.30pm.

When the waiter came over (just after dropping off a selection of what looked like mouth-wateringly delicious plates of piping hot food off at the table next to us), we asked for lunch menus only to be told that “we stop serving lunch at 2pm”. We looked forlornly at the table next to us and their hearty fare and he interjected “Sorry, they ordered just at the tail end of two”. Oh well then.

So we left. Thankfully, just along the road we pulled in to another roadside restaurant and were served a delicious bar meal, complete with complimentary starters courtesy of the chef who was sorry our mains would take a little longer than he’d hoped.

Unperturbed, we decided to go back to our first choice a few days later. A classic case of fool me once….. fool me twice…..

We were careful about our timing judging it just right and arriving at around 11.50, in plenty of time to catch the midday rush. We took our seats in the bar restaurant and the waiter came up to the table to see what we wanted.

‘Lunch, please!’ I said with great glee.

He looked puzzled, consulted his watch and announced that “lunch won’t start for another 9 minutes”.

‘Perhaps I could fill that time by looking at menus and deciding?’ I said. Trying to be helpful, teeth slightly on edge, and desperately trying to hide the sarcasm in my voice.

‘Yes,” he said, “that would be fine.”

Two minutes later he trotted back, having taken a detour to the kitchen to check what catastrophe might befall him if he dared to take an order for food before Head Chef had fired the starter pistol.

‘Here’s the menus but I’m very sorry, I can’t take your order until 12pm.”

One of the most wonderful things about being on holiday is, in my opinion, the ability to set your own agenda, sleep when you want, eat when you want. Except in Scotland where if you fail to make lunch between the hours of 12pm and 2pm you are, for want of a better word, goosed.

I’d like to say this was an isolated incident. But I have sadly encountered it time and time again from hotel restaurants, cafes, restaurants and gastropubs around the country.

In fact, a quick post holiday catch up with my Mum & Dad – also just back from a Short break in Scotland, included the anecdote of how they travelled from Glasgow to Perth, stopping off at three separate places in a vain endeavour to obtain breakfast to either find them closed for the day or not serving breakfast at all. They made it all the way to Auchterarder (just 12 miles from home) before they found somewhere!

So how about it Scotland, time to open up for those tourists who are not on such a tight schedule and have time (and money) to spend in your establishments in the early afternoon or even the morning? Perhaps the late lunchers are what’s really behind the recent resurgence in Afternoon Tea and nothing to do with a love of Granny’s China patterns after all. As for breakfast, we should take some tips from across the pond and see how the good ol’ US of A starts the day. It’s a national past-time.

Carling Property Group makes history with affordable housing support from Scottish Government

 

Property and investment firm Carling Property Group has made history as the first private property developer to receive affordable housing support from the Scottish Government.

Carling Property Group (CPG), whose mission is to fill the gap in affordable accommodation in Scotland, qualified for a substantial six figure sum from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund. CPG has used the money to convert a former old school house in Blairgowrie, Perthshire into eight properties, complete with secondary glazing, new flooring, private parking and disabled access.

The new properties at the former St. Stephen’s RC Primary School mark the latest affordable housing project for CPG, which also counts student and senior housing among its ventures. CPG is currently at work converting the former Chance Inn in Inverkeilor, Angus into affordable housing rentals.

CPG is believed to be the only private property developer to have received RIHF money. It has also worked with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership on the Blairgowrie project, with SEHP providing support with grant and property applications.

Graeme Carling, co-founder with wife Leanne Carling of Carling Property Group, said the Blairgowrie properties were already attracting interest, proving that demand continues to be high for affordable housing across Scotland.

Graeme said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government, via its Rural and Islands Housing Fund, has supported a private developer for the first time. As we expected, there has been strong interest in the apartments. This clearly demonstrates the need for more affordable housing in the area, and in Scotland. We remain committed to helping fill this gap but, sadly for those seeking affordable accommodation, there is still much work to be done in this sector.”

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, which hosts the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership on behalf of the Scottish Government, said:

“The conversion of this former school is a fantastic example of how empty properties can be part of the solution to Scotland’s shortage of affordable homes. Particularly in more rural communities it can be much more cost-effective to renovate existing empty homes or convert empty non-residential buildings to housing rather than start building from scratch on a greenfield site.”

CPG’s project in Blairgowrie features seven one-bedroom and one studio apartments, with rents starting at £250 a month. The properties are being let through the Perth and Kinross Council-run PKC Lets. Priority is being given to those working in the local area, over-55s and applicants with medical needs.

To find out more about Carling Property Group visit www.carlingpropertygroup.com

 

Picture of Colours of Cluny

Colours of Cluny donates family ticket to Dyke Primary event

Generous Colours of Cluny organisers have donated a family ticket to Dyke Primary.

The ticket will be raffled to raise funds for the Forres’ school at its upcoming family fun day on Sunday, August 27.

Local businessman and Forres Features Chairman Graeme Murdoch said: “We are delighted to support Dyke Primary’s fundraising event and wish them every success on the day.”

Mr Murdoch also revealed that this year’s sound and light extravaganza, which starts on November 8, will feature some exciting new twists.

He added: “Colours of Cluny will retain some of the best liked features of 2016 with exciting developments planned including amazing lighting covering areas not previously illuminated and use of ultra violet lighting. Other exciting ideas are also under consideration.”

Last year’s show attracted over 12,000 visitors and ticket are selling well for 2017’s event.

Graeme Murdoch continued: “Demand for tickets grows year on year and I cannot emphasise strongly enough that people should buy tickets in advance to ensure they secure a chance to visit this year.”

Colours of Cluny was created in 2016 by the Forres Features Community Interest Company as a vehicle to boost the local economy by driving visitors to the attractive Morayshire town.

The show – which is run by the Forres Features Community Interest Company – relies on external funding and a huge number of volunteers and companies/organisations (who provide services at no or minimal cost) to ensure tickets can be offered at a reasonable cost.

This year’s Colours of Cluny will cost over £140,000 to stage and any profits will be reinvested to fund the following year’s event and support local causes.

Colours of Cluny is funded by Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE), EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), The Budge Foundation and Berry Burn Community Fund.

Colours of Cluny takes place from Wednesday, November 8 to Sunday, November 19, 2017 at Cluny Hill Grant Park in Forres. Tickets are on sale to the public at www.coloursofcluny.com

More information on Colours of Cluny is available on www.coloursofcluny.com

Tayside Solicitor responds to Power of Attorney concerns

Retired Judge Denzil Lush made headlines this week when he warned that the public needs to be alerted to risks arising from a lack of safeguards in the Power of Attorney system.

Ernest Boath is Head of the Private Client Department at Miller Hendry, and advises clients on Wills, Powers of Attorney, Intervention and Guardianship Orders, Inheritance Planning and Executries. He has been appointed Guardian for a number of incapable adults. In addition, he administers a number of Private and Charitable Trusts.

He writes this open letter to Retired Judge Denzil Lush in response to his recent comments in the media:

Dear Sir,

I read with considerable alarm your recent comments in the press and radio on your concerns about powers of attorney in England and Wales and would like to draw your attention to how the Scottish legal system offers a robust example of how this useful document can be applied.

While I agree that it is important that when granting powers of attorney there must be complete trust in the person that is being appointed, the rare issues you cite – of difficulties arising where a Power of Attorney has been granted – should not put people off considering this very important measure when arranging their legal affairs.

It would be great shame if the enormous benefit that has been brought to families around Scotland by the granting of a power of attorney was to be halted as a result of your comments which are based on your experience of problems in the English and Welsh system.

Since the inception of continuing and welfare powers of attorney in Scotland, under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, it is possible for any adults to grant a formal document authorising person or persons (their attorney) to act on their behalf. They can act in the management of their property, finance and business affairs, and various aspects of their personal welfare, medical treatment and care. The attorney can only act within the powers contained in the deed. Typically powers of attorney are used when a person becomes so infirm or aged that they’re unable to handle their affairs on a daily basis. It could also be used on a temporary basis, say if a trip abroad is anticipated. This, I believe, is all very similar to the situation in England and Wales.

Similarly, in Scotland, the powers granted cannot be exercised by the attorney until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, a government agency set up in Scotland to maintain a public register of powers of attorney. The Office of the Public Guardian supervises those individuals who have been appointed to manage the financial and property affairs of adults who lack capacity to do so themselves, and investigate circumstances made known to them where the property or finances belonging to an incapable adult appear to be at risk.

However, where our systems differ is that in Scotland, in order for the power of attorney to be registered it must be accompanied by a certificate signed by either a solicitor or doctor stating that they have assessed your capacity to understand the nature and extent of the deed and its affect on your affairs. Specifically, it also requires the signatory to confirm that they have no reason to believe that the granter of the power of attorney was acting under undue influence or that any other factor affects or impairs the legal validity of the document.

The use of Powers of Attorney in Scotland frees up valuable court resources that would otherwise overburden the system and puts the power to decide on who should be responsible for the management of their own affairs back into the hands of the individual. Furthermore, it is a considerably less expensive route than Guardianship, the Scottish equivalent of court appointed deputies, and one which would not add extra cost burden to the taxpayer’s purse through increased Legal Aid costs which might be available to applicants.

Accordingly, while there is no doubt that on rare occasions a vulnerable adult could be taken in by a fraudulent family member or friend, there are safeguards in place. Having power of attorney does not give one the right to the subject’s assets. If an attorney helps themselves to the contents of a bank account that is still theft.

In the vast majority of cases the benefits of having a power of attorney in place to enable a trusted family member and loved one, very often a spouse, son or daughter, to look after your affairs if you became incapable of doing so yourself, far outweighs those risks.

Crucially a power of attorney is granted while you still have capacity to make that choice. A guardianship comes into play after you’ve lost that capability. Perhaps more importantly, a guardianship is initiated by the person seeking to become the Guardian. In other words, they ask the Court to be appointed as the person entitled to look after your affairs. With a power of attorney, it is entirely in your own hands who to appoint to look after your affairs in the event that you should become incapable of doing so in the future.

It seems to me and my fellow colleagues who work in this area of the law, far preferable that when you are able to consider the position carefully, discuss it with family members, and think through the implications, that you then appoint someone of your choosing to take on this important role. This is in preference to leaving it until such time as dementia, stroke or another medical crisis results in your incapacity, forcing a third party to seek to be appointed to look after your affairs through the, sometimes time-consuming court system and without any input from the affected person whatsoever.

Undoubtedly there is a risk that families might fall out about the best way to look after an incapable relative’s affairs, or that an unscrupulous and criminal individual might take advantage of the appointment to steal someone’s assets, the reality is that there is a such a risk in all aspects of life and in Scotland there are extra safeguards in place at the time of inception of the power of attorney.

Power of attorney granted in favour of someone you trust implicitly, remains a very useful and important part of an individual’s personal future planning which should always be considered. Where there has been a clear breach of that trust resulting in theft the perpetrator can be easily identified and brought to justice. The dreadful case of Mr Willett which has been cited, as I understand it, was set up under the older English & Welsh system and the procedure has since changed.

On a personal note, having suffered a stroke at the age of 33 I am now, more than ever, committed to ensuring that my clients affairs are protected before these powers are needed because if they wait until they are or they might be needed, it may just be too late.

Many people think Power of Attorney is just for older people. But it’s not, it’s for everyone. Things happen. Car accidents, strokes, dementia. And they happen to people of all ages. It’s a common misconception that your partner, or your parents, or your next of kin can just take over your affairs. They cannot. And the process for applying for guardianship is lengthy, costly and not easy. I would like to think that north of the border at least, clients can continue to grant powers of attorney and reap the considerable benefits without too much fear of the rare instances of abuse.

 

For further advice visit www.millerhendrysolicitors.co.uk <http://www.millerhendrysolicitors.co.uk>

Lucky prizewinners receive family tickets for Colours of Cluny

Three lucky North-east families will enjoy this year’s Colours of Cluny outdoor sound and light extravaganza absolutely free.

Katie Burns from Elgin, Evelyn Flett from Buckie and Darren Love from Forres were all automatically entered into a prize draw after attending last year’s event.

A delighted Evelyn said: “Brilliant! My grand-daughter was asking if Colours of Cluny was on again this year and I was able to tell her that it was. Even better if we have free tickets.”

Katie continued: “Colours of Cluny is a great evening out. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Colours of Cluny was created in 2016 by the Forres Features Community Interest Company as a vehicle to boost the local economy by driving visitors to the attractive Morayshire town.

The show – which is run by the Forres Features Community Interest Company – relies on external funding and a huge number of volunteers and companies/organisations (who provide services at no or minimal cost) to ensure tickets can be offered at a reasonable cost.

This year’s Colours of Cluny will cost over £140,000 to stage and any profits will be reinvested to fund the following year’s event and support local causes.

Local businessman and Forres Features Chairman Graeme Murdoch said: “We hope locals and visitors from all parts of the North-east and further afield will come along and enjoy our sound and light extravaganza.

Colours of Cluny is being produced by creative director – and local girl – Kate Bonney, who is also part of the talented creative team behind the multi-award-winning Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry.

Graeme Murdoch added: “Demand for tickets grows year on year and I cannot emphasise strongly enough that people should buy tickets in advance to ensure they secure a chance to visit this year.”

Colours of Cluny takes place from Wednesday, November 8 to Sunday, November 19, 2017 at Cluny Hill Grant Park in Forres. Tickets are on sale to the public at www.coloursofcluny.com

More information on Colours of Cluny is available on www.coloursofcluny.com

Mass volunteer sign-up as Great Tapestry of Scotland comes to Dundee

As Dundee gets ready to host the Great Tapestry of Scotland, volunteers have been signing up en masse to support the historic exhibition.

Around 50 local volunteers will act as invigilators while the Tapestry is on exhibit at Verdant Works, Dundee’s social history museum. Part of the museum’s contract with The Great Tapestry of Scotland is that the unique work of art is never left unattended during the opening hours of the exhibition, which runs from 26th August to 22nd October.

The volunteers, including 30 new participants, will work in pairs on weekly rotas to oversee the 82 previously unseen, beautifully detailed panels – themselves stitched by volunteers – which tell the history of Scotland.

This will be the Tapestry’s second visit to Dundee. The hugely popular first exhibition at Verdant Works, taking place in Spring 2016, attracted almost 8000 visitors during its run. This year’s exhibition received sponsorship from Dundee solicitors Blackadders LLP and The Alexander Moncur Trust.

One of the Verdant Works volunteers, Alister Rutherford, helped stitch the Dundee panel of the Tapestry. The former community education worker took up embroidery as a hobby in 2008 and was one of four stitchers to work on the Dundee section.

Alister said:

“We were given a range of colours to work with and we were given a great deal of flexibility with what we created around the main images, which were already designed. The theme of the Dundee panel is ‘Jutopolis’, which features jute, jam, journalism and whaling. We included images like the Albert Institute, now McManus Galleries, and the Tay Bridge disaster.

He added: “I think it’s important that as many people as possible see the Great Tapestry of Scotland. It’s a stunning record of our history.”

Gill Poulter, Heritage and Exhibitions Director with Dundee Heritage Trust, which operates Verdant Works, said:

“We had an impressive number of volunteers signing up to help with the Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition, which I think is testament to both the interest locals have in Dundee’s heritage, and to the popularity of Verdant Works itself. We’re delighted to be hosting the tapestry once more and to be able to share this special piece of Scotland’s history with the public.”

The Great Tapestry is the largest community art project ever to take place in Scotland. The full tapestry consists of 160 panels and, at 143 metres, is the longest tapestry in the world. This new display will showcase the rest of the panels, which depict important historical events such as the Vikings’ invasion of Scotland, the massacre at Glencoe, the first Edinburgh Festival, the miners’ strike in the 1980s and the founding of Scottish Rugby with the first Scotland v. England rugby match.

Verdant Works will also be redisplaying seven of the most popular panels from last year including the two sections highlighting the history of the city: ‘The Discovery Sails from Dundee’ and ‘Dundee: Jute, Journalism’.

When: 26 August – 22 October 2017. Open to all ages.

Where: High Mill, Verdant Works, West Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee DD1 5BT

Cost: Included in admission to Verdant Works

For more, visit www.verdantworks.com